Pakistan faces two problems, huge import bill of POL
products and single-product based sugar industry. Apparently there seems
to be no correlation between the two problems and one single remedy.
However, petro-alcohol — a product commonly known and used in many
countries around the globe can help in overcoming the twin problems.
Praj Industries from India offers the solution.
Praj's close association with sugar industry
worldwide and its extensive experience in handling molasses for
producing various grades of alcohol has been adding value to performance
of sugar mills. To share its global experience Praj recently held a
number of seminars with the assistance of Meshe International, its
representative for Pakistan. The seminar held in Karachi was attended by
a large number of people belonging to sugar industry.
Praj has been playing a key role, not only by
building new plants but by bringing in a different perspective on
technology globally. It enjoys over 250 references in more than 25
countries across 5 continents. Praj can rightly boast to be the world
leader in providing molasses based distilleries. It still peruses
research and development for enhancing process efficiencies. Some of the
programmes undertaken include enhancing sugarcane to ethanol economics
and energy crops for ethanol production. Some of the identified crops
include, tropical sugar beet, sweet sorghum and tapioca. Biomass is
another futuristic feedstock.
Over the last two decades Praj has reinforced its
mission of higher energy gains with zero pollution at the lowest
production cost. The need of the hour is enhancing quality and Praj is
making quality affordable. In some countries where batch fermentation
was the practice, Praj introduced continuous fermentation and
synchronized it varying characteristics of feedstock. Where sugarcane
molasses has been the predominant feed, Praj made starch based raw
materials viable. Where single feedstock has been the tradition,
alternate multiple feedstock distilleries have been installed and
successfully operated. Praj has added a new science to distillation by
way of energy efficiency. It has also integrated plant design for a
The production of petro-alcohol comprises of three
basic processes, fermentation, distillation and blending. Praj offers
the complete technology. The fermentation technology is high yielding
but at lower production cost. It has introduced many firsts be it the
introduction of the continuous fermentation process, tropicalization of
processes to suit local conditions or introduction of rugged yeast
strains and/or multiple feed systems.
Praj's distillation system offer high quality at
lower energy cost. It has been a tough act to follow. Classical hear and
mass transfer theories are applied, tested and proven to deliver energy
integrated systems. This has been achieved by introducing high
performance tower internals that also offer better separation of
impurities. In line with customer's needs, Praj has introduced units
which are capable of delivering multiple products at half the steam
requirements of conventional systems. Use of PLC/DCS based control
systems further improve productivity of critical operations. As the
world looks for alternate fuel sources to drive the vehicles on the
roads, alcohol is finding a more notable role as motor fuel additive, an
environment friendly solution.
The interest of Pakistan's sugar industry in
technology offered by Praj is natural. Pakistan produced around two
million tonnes of molasses annually. The product is exported at a low
price but if converted in ethanol can fetch a price three times the
price of molasses. Besides, it has extensive use in chemical industry.
If the country also goes for petro-alcohol not only fuel import bill
will be reduced but less pollution would be created. And above all going
for local conversion of molasses into ethanol can improve financial
health of problem ridden sugar industry.